It’s been another busy airport week with stories pouring in from all corners of the world. It’s equally been a busy week here at LateDeparture as we’ve done a little marketing blast for our recently launched airport-only-trip with OutTrippin. Check it out for yourself.
This week has been another interesting one with quite a range of different airport news. Berlin got mentioned a couple times again, then San Francisco was in with an interesting and maybe slightly controversial idea, Stansted also had a busy week and Zurich was put to the test whilst Chicago received some disturbing freight.
It’s another week with yet more exciting new airport news stories from around the globe. And it’s been quite an interesting week, so today we have a lost appeal, a boy that out-smarted all security checks, a study into spreading diseases and a roaming bull.
It’s been one of those odd weeks where one particular news story just didn’t go away; more about that later. In other news we found bits and pieces from the US (this time San Francisco and Denver made the cut) as well as our almost surely reoccurring news from England.
Well, well, finger-point, finger-point… yes, okay we admit it, we’re about 24 hours late with our weekly news round-up. But hey, better late than never or isn’t that what they say? Whatever; let’s not get into excuses but rather focus on the task at hand.
Only seven more days remain in 2011 and it’s therefore time for us at LateDeparture to pack up and enjoy a little (well deserved?!) break. But of course, we won’t leave you before we put another, final round of airport news in front of you. Besides that, you should already get excited for coming back to LateDeparture in January as not only will we continue to review airports and bring you weekly airport related news, but also we will be presenting you with the very first Airport News of the Year Award in early January. The best of all this is, that you can vote for the news you liked best and as a result win some awesome prizes! So stay tuned and get ready for a big 2012!
This week three US airports caught our attention: First on Tuesday there was San Francisco’s International Airport (IATA: SFO; LD reviewed) which made headlines with the arrival of the first scheduled Airbus A380 flight. The Lufthansa plane with flight number 454 landed at the Northern Californian airport on Tuesday morning for the first time and was welcomed by a fire truck and many eager plane spotters as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
What’s so comfortable in sleeping high up in a US airport control tower you might ask after having read this week’s news about controller number five and six falling asleep during their night shifts. Number five was reported to have happened mid week at Reno-Tahoe International Airport (IATA: RNO) where a medical flight carrying a sick patient tried to land without anyone responding. The latest one, number six, was reported on Saturday. Here the controller fell asleep during his shift at the Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center, which oversees mostly high-altitude, long-distance flights. According to the FAA, this time the controller did not miss any calls from aircraft and there was no operational impact. With all this, voices suggesting problems in the system rather than failures of individuals now become louder as stated in a Washington Post article. This won’t be the last time we wrote about it!
This week Fox News reported that US federal authorities are investigating a second case of an air traffic controller sleeping on the job, after a similar incident at Washington’s Reagan Nation Airport caused an uproar (we wrote about it). The article said that the latest report of a snoozing air traffic controller came Wednesday during Capitol Hill testimony. This time the incident took place in, in Knoxville, Tennessee (IATA: TYS). In this case, the air traffic controller appeared to be “willfully” sleeping and the FAA said it is taking steps to fire the person.
San Francisco is a destination I frequently fly to for my job. When I took off there last time, there was no delay and in fact, when you take off from San Francisco International (IATA: SFO) in 98% of the times your flight is on time according to Flightstats.com. The Northern Californian airport was also recently rated best US airport. Despite all that, there will still be the odd occasion when your flight actually is delayed (my colleagues who flew back with BA the next day were in fact delayed for about 2 hours), plus, with international flights it is recommended to get to the airport 2 hours prior to departure which often means you have plenty of time to kill before the boarding announcement.
So, what’s there to do at San Francisco International? Well, according to the airports own statistics, the terminal is the largest international terminal by square footage in North America. There are two different boarding areas, A and G with most non-US carrier flights departing from area A. Whilst the size of the terminal is definitely adding to your relaxation, you would also expect plenty of shopping opportunities (even more so with the current weak dollar). No such luck – there are hardly any! For example, if you hoped to buy that last minute Apple iPod for your friend at home, you will be disappointed as none can be found at SFO. So, better get your shopping done before you get to the airport. But what can you then do at the airport? Here are my top 5:
- Sit at the North side of the terminal and watch the air traffic
- Search the few stores for that one Vitamin Water flavour you haven’t tasted yet
- Count the number of public announcements that were generated with a computer voice
- Connect online and download your latest emails (connect through T-Online for US$6/hour or use your companies connection software)
- DeleteUpload those crazy photos you took last Saturday night at that party in the Castro
|Airport Name||San Francisco International (International Terminal, A Gates)|
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